Second Amendment rights and gun control have long been highly contentious issues in American politics. But is there a possibility for a middle ground on guns?
According to a 2017 Pew Research Survey there are major disagreements between gun owners and non-gun owners when it comes to gun legislation. But polling does reveal a middle ground. Almost 90 percent of both gun owners and non-gun owners agree on limiting access to guns for people with mental illnesses. And strong majorities agree on background checks for private sales and at gun shows.
Reed Galen, who is Chief Strategist for the Serve America Movement said it was important to distinguish between the views of those who lead the NRA and the views of regular gun-owning Americans. "There are a fair number of people who probably consider themselves left of center or even far left of center, but also consider themselves maybe not gun people, but sports people," said Galen, "When they start to hear arguments which is, 'You own a gun, ergo you are a bad person,' even if they might otherwise vote for democrats, they now feel like, 'Wait a second. I'm a pro-labor person, I'm pro-single-payer healthcare, but I get my deer and my elk tag every year and now I'm a gun nut?'"
Still, the NRA and the prospect of violating Second Amendment rights hold an emotional sway over voters and politicians.
"Not only is it that emotional thing, but it's also the fear of retribution at the polls," said Political Junkie Ken Rudin, "For a Republican to stand up and say, 'I'm a pro-gun guy, but we need common sense laws,' they'll be met with primary opposition."
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